Pecan Season Brings Lower Prices For Consumers, Less Profit For Harvesters

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By Catalina Trivino

Thanksgiving is almost here... and while you may be dreaming of some homemade pecan pie, the cost to make it may be an early Christmas gift to your wallet. CBS-8 visited Priester's Pecans to see whether you're getting your money's worth this holiday season.

 

Pecan season continues through December, but they'll be shelling until April. They say that's about 20,000 lbs. a day.

Priester's Pecans estimates buying about a million pounds a year. They say so far, they've received about half of that this year.

 

They start way up in the sky. These trees used to be full of leaves -- and pecans.

"They can produce anything from nothing to five to 700 pounds per tree," Said Priester's Pecans shelling supervisor, Stinson Ellis.

But as the temperature has gone down, so have the prices for this southern snack. Ellis says people are paying about a dollar less per pound compared to last year. It's because the pecan crop arrived three weeks early. And although the drought was a scare, the late summer rain brought some light.

"The crop wound up being okay. In some places it hasn't been as great, but some of the varieties, especially in south Alabama, turned out a lot better than what was thought they were going to be," Said Ellis. He says production is about the same as last year, but the prices harvesters can expect to get... is not.

Ellis says a farmer bringing in a 40,000 lbs. load can get up to $110,000 -- that's about $20,000 less than last year.

 

At the retail level, shoppers at this Priester's Pecans wasted no time testing this year's nuts.

"That is very good... a lot of pecan flavor to that," Said Georgia native, George Hall, who says he always stops at the shop when he drives through Alabama.

"We sell wonderful mammoth halves, roasted salted pecans and then we have all the different sizes [and] pieces that you need for your holiday baking," Said Priester's Pecans co-owner, Ellen Burkett.

At the Ft. Deposit Priester's shop, consumers are paying just under $50 for 5 lbs. of shelled pecans. They're paying under $23 for in-shelled nuts -- a chance for shoppers to take advantage of not only the prices, but this tasty southern treat.

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